MANHATTAN CRIMINAL COURT — The man accused of killing Etan Patz 33 years ago today was rushed to hospital early Friday morning, police said.
Pedro Hernandez, 51, was taken to Bellevue for treatment for a "pre-existing condition," an NYPD source said. The source said he needed medication. He was still in the hospital at 10:30 a.m. Friday awaiting medical clearance to be moved back to a cell.
Hernandez, from Maple Shade, N.J., was due to be arraigned on second degree murder charges on Friday.
His wife, Rosemary, and daughter, Becky, arrived at Manhattan Criminal Court shortly after 10 a.m. They refused to talk to reporters.
His lawyer, Harvey Fishbein, asked press to give them space. "It's a tough day," he said.
The New York Times reported that Hernandez had been put on suicide watch before being moved to the hospital.
Hernandez told police he lured the 6-year-old away from a SoHo bus stop on May 25 1979 with a soda, took him into the basement of a bodega where he worked and strangled him, NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly said at a press conference Thursday night.
He put his body in a plastic bag, and then a box, and put it in the trash.
Patz had walked to the school bus stop for the first time by himself that day.
This week, police brought Hernandez back to the basement of the former bodega on West Broadway, where Hernandez reenacted the alleged murder while cops took photos, a source said.
Police are also tracking down the retired officer who wrote the original investigative report on the Patz's disappearance, which mentioned Hernandez by name, a source said.
Police said a relative of Hernandez called them earlier this week, saying the man had talked about killing a boy in New York, but had never given a name.
Hernandez was picked up by investigators on Wednesday, and told them "I did it," a source said.
Kelly refused to discuss Hernandez's medical history, but a source said he had told detectives he was bipolar. Neighbors said he suffered from cancer.
Though Hernandez gave a signed confession, some investigators are still skeptical about his admission, sources said.
They are concerned that Hernandez has been unable to give a motive. His claim that he lured Patz from a bus stop is not backed up by parents who were at the stop that day and said Patz was not there.
Stanley and Julie Patz, Etan's parents, declined to speak to reporters as they walked into their SoHo home Friday afternoon.